Sunday, March 29, 2009

A New Initiative against American Isolationism

Worldwide criticism to the Iraq War has led American public opinion to an isolationist direction. Leftists fell into Chamberlainian little Americanism, while rightists receded into America first. In view of challenges posed by global network of radical ideologues, rogue states, and the Russo-Chinese reemergence, the United States must be firmly committed to defend our liberal world order.

In such a global political environment, a new initiative for active interventionism in US foreign policy has been launched. The Cable, a blog published by Foreign Policy, keeps an eye on this movement led by Robert Kagan, Senior Associate of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, William Kristol, Managing Editor of Weekly Standard, and Dan Senor, former Iraq Provisional Authority Spokesman (“PNAC 2.0?”; The Cable; March 26, 2009). This group named the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI) will hold the first public event on March 31 to discuss the strategy in Afghanistan. Top policymakers attend the conference as guest speakers. They are Senator John McCain; John Nagl, President of the Center for a New American Security; Democrat Representative Jane Harman; Republican Representative John McHugh; Ashley Tellis, Senior Associate of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and Lieutenant General David Barno, former commander in Afghanistan.

Although a well known neocon watch blog called Lobelog compares the FPI to the now -defunct PNAC (Project for the New American Century) in its recent post (“Neo-Con Ideologues Launch New Foreign Policy Group”; Lobelog; March 25, 2009), this is neither partisan nor anti-Obama advocacy. Democrat policymakers also come to speak in the first event.

It remains to be seen whether the Obama administration is more isolationist than the Bush administration. President Obama’s foreign policy will be tested in the forthcoming subsequent events, i.e., G20 London Summit, NATO Summit in Strasburg and Kehl, and North Korean missile launch. However, some opinion leaders regard the Obama presidency as a symbol of a less interventionist United States. If authoritarian adversaries and challengers see America weak, this will endanger our liberal world order. Therefore, it is vital “to make alliances and attack isolationist positions regardless of political affiliations depending on the issue.”

I strongly agree to the following comment in FPI mission statement.

(In the post 9-11 global security environment), the United States cannot afford to turn its back on its international commitments and allies--the allies that helped us defeat fascism and communism in the 20th century, and the alliances we have forged more recently, including with the newly liberated citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan. Our economic difficulties will not be solved by retreat from the international arena. They will be made worse.

This is a critical advice to President Obama and leaders of preeminent industrialized democracies who are obsessed with the Global Financial Crisis. We should not spend another holidays from history.